Blog Post

AI: No Longer the New Kid in Town

September 11, 2020

Lawyers are adopting AI faster than ever before – are you ready, or will you be left behind, wondering what happened?  

Why did you go to law school? To make a difference and solve tricky problems? To give award-winning speeches to juries like Jack McCoy in Law and Order? Or to be a corporate lawyer, having your eye on the commercial ball, like Harvey Specter in Suits?

It probably wasn’t to sit reviewing document after document, all day every day. Not only that, but it probably wasn’t to do work that sometimes doesn’t even need a law degree to figure out.

But that’s the old world and we’re in the new world now.

Delegating human tasks to machines is no longer futuristic. From escalators to food mixers, Ford’s first production line, to complex data analytics, machines have been augmenting our lives for decades.

Within organizations, CIOs and CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) have had little choice in the matter. As attacks on corporate IT systems have grown in sophistication by using AI and machine learning to force data breaches, CIOs have needed to respond with equally sophisticated measures. They have augmented their system security with AI. And it works.

It’s not just CIOs that are benefitting from using AI-powered technology to help them achieve more, CFOs and procurement departments are using it for spend analysis, to understand financial risk, and discover rogue costs.

The new news is that lawyers are finally starting to realize the benefits too.

There’s always been the early adopters and those law firms that could afford to have their own in-house AI team, but now even the smaller players are signing the cheques. According to a recent article in Fortune (albeit with a highly misleading headline), there are several reasons why law firms and GCs are now starting to adopt this technology more readily.

While often touted as laggards when it comes to tech adoption (and with good reason), the pandemic has forced the issue. Technology was everyone’s crutch during the lockdown, for work, to see family and friends, and for buying essentials (can anyone say Amazon?).

We all had to use and trust technology more than we ever had before, lawyers included. From everything like sharing documents online, to trials performed by Zoom. Corporate lawyers and GCs have had to negotiate online, and trust electronic signatures, even for large deals, to prevent huge delays with executives unable to sign in person.

This growth in trust of technology has opened the minds of many in the legal profession who are now wondering how else technology, and AI, in particular, can help boost their practices.

With investment at risk and cashflow ebbing, as it did after the financial crisis in 2008, many are already looking at ways to save costs, using AI to help them manage legal spend, taking the lead from their procurement counterparts.

Lawyers and GCs have been trying to do more with less for years and many are realizing that the ‘grunt work,’ as Forbes puts it – the document review work that every lawyer and GC gets bogged down with – could be easily and quickly completed using AI.

For post-signature contracts, managing obligations, missing deadlines and renewal dates, and being blindsided by renegotiation, as well as having stunted workflows, are alleviated with AI-powered technology. And most importantly, have an impact that goes straight to the bottom line.

But using technology and especially AI goes beyond just looking for ways to save money.

What AI delivers is knowledge. Using AI for contract management doesn’t just help ensure obligations are met, it delivers insight into an organization. AI highlights areas of potential risk that might not have been previously considered.

It helps lawyers and executives from across the business make more informed decisions and speed up the flow of business. It can shape the workflow and team structures by freeing up senior staff to offer more client counsel and junior staff to offer better support. And, even though we might not be at the major adoption phase yet, AI can use predictive analytics to help decide the right defensive stance in litigation.

There are thousands of use cases where AI has been deployed in the legal sector and these are growing, faster now than ever. The question, therefore, isn’t if you’ll be using AI in the future, it’s simply a case of when, and whether you’ll be ready?

To find out more about how our AI-powered technology could help augment your business, contact us now.